Marchessault leads Knights to even series

AP, WINNIPEG, Manitoba

Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 16

Jonathan Marchessault on Monday scored twice in the Vegas Golden Knights’ message to the Winnipeg Jets, bouncing back with a 3-1 series-evening win in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

“Every time we need a big game as a group, we show up,” Marchessault said. “We showed the hockey world we earned the right to be here.”

Tomas Tatar scored 6 minutes, 37 seconds into the game for the Knights and Marc-Andre Fleury finished with 30 saves.

Kyle Connor scored midway through the third period to pull Winnipeg within a goal. Marchessault restored the two-goal lead 1 minute, 28 seconds later.

After losing the series opener, Marchessault told reporters that the team faced a must-win game.

“If you’re going to talk out there in the media that you have to be better, I think you need to lead by example,” he said. “I tried to do that.”

“I don’t think anybody is panicking,” Jets defenseman Jacob Trouba said. “We like our road game. We like where it was in the Nashville series.”

“They came out flying again with a lot of speed,” Fleury said.

“Fleury had to make three or four really good saves in the first seven minutes,” Vegas coach Gerard Gallant said. “We rebounded after that. We got that 2-0 lead and it was a different game for us. When teams are chasing the lead, it’s tough for teams to battle back.”

Winnipeg’s Mark Scheifele, who has the post-season-high 12 goals, got the puck past Fleury in the opening moments of the game and Vegas defenseman Nate Schmidt cleared it from the crease.

Vegas generated offense by making plays without the puck, forcing turnovers to set up goals.

“We were on them,” Golden Knights forward Erik Haula said. “That’s our game. We’re a fast team. I think we showed that.”

The Jets closed the scoreless second period and started the third on the power play, but still could not get the puck past Fleury.

Winnipeg kept up the pressure on by relentlessly forechecking and drew another penalty early in the third. Connor took advantage, squeezing a shot between Fleury and the post from the bottom of the left circle 7 minutes, 17 seconds into the third.

That whipped the white-clad fans into a frenzy — triggering jeers of “Fleu-ry! Fleu-ry!” — and were quickly quieted by another Marchessault backhander that beat Hellebuyck.

The Jets pulled their goaltender to add another skater over the last couple minutes of the game, but Fleury did not let the puck get past him again.